Morning Brief 7.8.20: Walmart preps its Amazon Prime rival

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:

Prime move

Walmart is expected to launch a subscription service to rival Amazon Prime, which makes up a large part of Amazon's business and more broadly influences online shopping trends.

Called Walmart+, the service will cost $98 per year, compared to Amazon Prime's $119 per year fee; and will include delivery perks and discounts, reports Recode, adding Walmart+ will debut later this month after a coronavirus delay of about five months.

Walmart may face challenges, given about half of its highest-value consumers are already Amazon Prime subscribers, according to Recode. Amazon has also made inroads with consumers with thin credit through the Amazon Credit Builder Card, allowing it to more directly compete with Walmart.

Bad bet

A gambling addiction group says U.K. banks are not adequately using card controls to prevent users from accessing online gambling.

About 28 million cardholders in the U.K., or 40% of the total market, do not have gambling site blocks on their cards, according to The University of Bristol, which performed research for GambleAware.

Also, only eight card issuers in the U.K. offer blockers, and many of the blocking features that are available are easily disabled, reports Finextra, adding the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics estimates gambling addiction costs about $1.5 billion per year.

Closing the deal

Payments technology firm Rapyd has completed its deal to acquire Korta, an Icelandic merchant services company.

Rapyd provides supply chain automation, allowing a user in one country to buy a product from a merchant in another country while that merchant pays suppliers in a third country, with all transactions happening in each locale's own currency.

Korta is expected to add merchant acquiring expertise and tools to Rapyd, and help Rapyd expand in Europe.

Crypto inclusion

South Africa-based peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace Paxful and cryptocurrency exchange OKEx are teaming to build a menu of digital payment methods to support bitcoin purchases, covering transfers, gift cards and digital wallets.

The collaboration will also support conversions from more than 160 traditional currencies, covering Nigeria, Kenya and emerging economies in Asia and South America.

Paxful, which focuses on using cryptocurrency to build financial inclusion, estimates there's an addressable market of about 100 million users in its target regions.

Transferring up

TransferWise is close to a $300 million secondary share sale, which would value the U.K. fintech at about $5 billion.

The offering allows early investors to cash their shares, and is drawing interest from global VCs, reports Sky. TransferWise's valuation was about $3.5 billion a year ago.

Along with transfer firms such as Remitly, TransferWise has benefited from the deployment of new payments technology that has allowed it to perform well despite the pandemic-driven decline in remittances.

From the Web

China to test sovereign digital currency on ride hailing giant Didi
REUTERS | Wed July 8, 2020
China’s central bank is partnering up with Didi Chuxing to test the use of its digital currency, which could make China’s dominant ride hailing platform one of the world’s first’s corporate users of a government-created virtual currency.

People's United Launches Service to Monitor Digital Identity
YAHOO FINANCE | Tue July 7, 2020
People's United Bank has launched a digital identity and credit protection service —AlwaysChecking—in partnership with Experian, an Irish consumer credit reporting company.

Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud — and that’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
CNBC | Tue July 7, 2020
Americans have lost more than $77 million in fraud related to Covid-19, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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